“It has been my firm conviction throughout life that it is the duty of everyone in the world to do what is within his power to alleviate human suffering. It is, therefore, natural that I should desire after having made provision for the immediate members of my family and others whom I have seen fit to remember, that the remaining portion of my estate be utilized for charitable needs.”
Alfred I. duPont was one of America's major turn-of-the-century philanthropists and left behind a lasting legacy of serving the needy. His vision and compassion have given hundreds of thousands of sick children the hope of realizing their own possibilities.
Mr. duPont's will provided for his estate to be left intact as a charitable trust for the establishment of a foundation for the treatment of curable crippled children or for the benefit of the elderly. The Trust was created in 1935, and The Nemours Foundation was formed thereafter. In 1940, the Alfred I. duPont Institute was opened as the first children's health-outreach initiative of the Foundation.
The following are historical highlights of the health services made possible by funding from the Alfred I. duPont Charitable Trust and the expertise of its primary beneficiary, The Nemours Foundation:
Upon the death of Alfred I. duPont in 1935, the Alfred I. duPont Trust is created to manage duPont’s estate and carry out his final wishes of providing healthcare to children and the elderly.
In 1936, The Nemours Foundation is established as a separate entity. Nemours is responsible for delivering healthcare services and is governed by a board of directors under the direction of the Trustees of the duPont Trust.
In 1940, Nemours Foundation opens its first healthcare facility for children—the Alfred I. duPont Institute—on the grounds of duPont’s Nemours estate in Wilmington, Delaware.
By the 1960s, under the direction of famed orthopedic surgeon Dr. Alfred R. Shands Jr., Nemours has become a leader in pediatric orthopedic medicine.
In 1971, after the death of duPont’s wife, Jessie Ball duPont, the annual income to Nemours from the Trust significantly increases.
In 1976, The Nemours Foundation Board expands the health system’s mission to treat a greater range of childhood diseases.
In 1981, Nemours makes a major commitment to Florida with the acquisition of Hope Haven Children’s Hospital in Jacksonville and renames it Nemours Children’s Hospital, and subsequently, Nemours Children’s Clinic. Also in 1981, The Nemours Foundation opens the Nemours Health Clinic to provide dental and eye care and prescription drug benefits to Delaware elderly.
In 1984, a new 800,000-square-foot hospital opens adjacent to the original Alfred I. duPont Institute in Wilmington. The hospital is renamed the Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children.
By 1996, Nemours establishes additional Nemours Children’s Clinics in Delaware and in Pensacola and Orlando, Florida, all staffed by Nemours physicians and surgeons, but collaborating with local hospitals.
In 2002, the Trustees of the duPont Trust, working with The Nemours Foundation Board of Directors, engage an outside consulting firm to assist with an in-depth review of The Nemours Foundation’s mission. The outcome is a new mission statement for The Nemours Foundation: “To provide leadership, institutions, and services to restore and improve the health of children through care and programs not readily available, with one high standard of quality and distinction regardless of the recipient’s financial status.”
The Nemours Foundation again expands its reach in 2004, when the duPont Trustees authorize Nemours to pursue a holistic system of health and healthcare for children with the creation of Nemours Health and Prevention Services. Initial focus includes a childhood obesity program in Delaware and an early dyslexia detection program in Jacksonville.
In 2008, the Trust moves into its permanent headquarters on the St. Johns River in Jacksonville, Florida, Mr. duPont’s adopted hometown.
In 2009, construction begins on Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando, Florida. In 2012, the hospital opens its doors to the new 630,000-square-foot hospital, offering 95 beds to children in need.